After a long day, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. But, if you can incorporate working out into your day, the task may not seem so difficult or time-consuming. Exercising as part of your daily routine can help you get better sleep, get in better shape, decrease stress and even improve your mood! So here is my advice to you:
1. Spread it out.
Spreading out different types of exercise throughout your day can help you squeeze it into a busy schedule and help decrease your stress. You don't have to spend a couple hours at the gym every day to get in exercise. If you have a 30-minute break between classes, go on a short run or visit the on-campus recreation center! Taking breaks in studying to do a quick workout can also help you regroup and refocus.
2. Know that cheat days are OK.
Don't stress out if you can't do your full workout some days. The point is, some exercise is better than no exercise. Be proud of yourself for doing what you can, and as you exercise more, set higher goals for yourself. Cheat days are OK, just don't cheat yourself every day! Do what you can and work it into your schedule.
3. Eat for energy.
Working out can use up a lot of energy, and if you aren't used to getting daily exercise, this can feel really tiring. Make sure that your diet supports an active lifestyle. Try to bring healthy snacks with you to work or class, because your busy schedule might not allow you to buy something when you're feeling drained. Eating high-protein foods such as yogurt or nuts can help you get that extra boost of energy you need to add exercise into your day.
4. Drink enough water.
Being dehydrated can also make you feel really weak and drained, which is the last thing you want to feel when adding exercise into your busy life. Listen to your body and stay healthy. This will make your transition into a healthy lifestyle, including daily exercise, even easier. The healthier you is probably a happier you, so use this for motivation!
5. Get enough sleep.
When adding daily exercise into an already crazy and hectic schedule, you will be exhausted, especially at first. Working out will help you get better sleep, so make sure you take advantage of that time and get the sleep you need to follow a routine. Getting little to no sleep will only make it harder to add exercise into your life. A well-rested you will feel much better during a busy day, too, exercise or no exercise.
6. Stretch, stretch, stretch!
No matter the exercise, take a few minutes to stretch. Pulled muscles or fatigue can be reduced or prevented all together by stretching before and after a workout. It doesn't take long, and your body will thank you later! You might not feel sore right away, but adding exercise into your daily routine is likely to catch up to you. Stretching will make sure it doesn't hurt so much.
7. It's all in the transportation.
A lot of people, myself included, like to incorporate their daily exercise into their transportation methods. This can help if you don't actually like exercising, because you have to get to school somehow, and you didn't bring your car, so what other choice do you have? Riding a bike, walking or jogging to school or work can give you some extra physical activity in your day without going out of your way.
8. Switch it up.
Don't let yourself get bored with your exercising. Sometimes you have to switch it up to stay motivated. If you usually ride a bike to school, walk a couple of times this week. Changing up the type of exercising you do might keep you more interested. I go through phases where I want to get in shape and work out, but that eventually dies down to being tired and lazy. Alternating the types of exercise I do helps me stay interested in physical activity as part of my daily routine.
9. Take a class.
Taking a class can not only help you explore a new types of exercise, but also hold you accountable for showing up, which we all know is the hardest part about exercising with a busy schedule -- just doing it. Taking physical activity classes as part of my quarterly schedule was a decision I made in community college, and I don't regret it at all. The cost ends up being pretty low for the amount of time I spent working out. I was obligated to show up to my classes and I discovered new interests in different activities. I also met friends that enjoy working out the same way I do!
10. Find a buddy.
Finding a workout buddy is a great idea and can help you stay motivated. A partner can challenge you, help you try new things and hold you accountable. Great workout buddies can be found in physical activity classes, at the recreation center, at the gym or maybe some of your current friends want to exercise more. Bonus points if they're a coworker so you can take your lunch breaks together! Having multiple friends that you can do different types of physical activity with, such as hiking or cycling, can help you stay active in your busy schedule!
If you're feeling stressed out because of a hectic schedule, take a breath and do a type of exercise that is enjoyable to you. It might be hard getting into a habit of exercising, but it can help you live a healthier, happier, stress-free life, even if you are really busy!